Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hello, again! aka Thai Noodles with Curried Beef Sauce

It's been a while (a long while) since I last blogged here. I was going to give this up for good, but have since decided to chronicle my attempts to steer my family onto the organic path. I know a lot of people (read: my mom's family) will say that organic doesn't matter. That if you eat organic, you think you're too good for 'regular' food. Ummm...Damn straight. I actually worry very little about pesticides (crazy, huh?). It's the GMOs that have me scared onto this path. So anyway--I've gotten a few things straightened out in my life.

 1. I had the Mirena removed. My hormonal mood swings were getting to the point where I felt almost out of body. The back of my brain was saying "why are you doing this? this is crazy!" while the rest of me steamrolled ahead into whatever loss of temper/control that I was headed towards. It started to get scary. Since the problems seemed to arise about every 2 weeks (ovulation and pms, for those of you who aren't in the know), I decided to get the Mirena removed. Best. Decision. Ever. I had stopped managing my household and was basically hanging on for the ride. While I'm still working at getting the chaos of laundry, toys, and stuff under control, I am making progress. I suddenly have interest in reading again (I didn't even realize I had lost that). I have interest in meal-planning and couponing and managing the grocery budget again! The Mirena had basically caused me to be mildly depressed ALL the time as well as emotionally unstable. FUN TIMES!

 2. I am now selling Thirty One Gifts and I couldn't be more excited! I love helping hostesses get their wish lists! It's a great part-time thing that gives me a little extra spending money without taking away too much time from my daughter and the house.

 3. I am no longer allowing anybody to dictate my emotions and responses. I love my mom, I love Pappa D, and I love my family--but that doesn't mean they get to play me. I visit when I want/have time. I don't feel (too) bad about not being able to meet up last minute when my mom is anywhere within 2 hours of me (because, you know, letting me know more than 24 hours in advance is just too much, still). I have decided that I will be my own person! And I'm loving it!

 Soooo...let's get this started out right with the first meal of the menu plan. It was freaking amazing...just...amazing. Lil' G approved, Pappa D approved, I approved. It's a keeper. I didn't take pictures (because I haven't gotten to that point yet), but let me just explain the beauty of this. I have a friend who swears that my stir fries are "too complex". I beg to differ. When I make a stir fry with sauce, I want my sauce to have sweet, sour, salty, and spice. I WANT IT ALL! And this recipe has it. If I remember, I'll get a picture of it tomorrow when I warm it up for lunch. I make no promises, though.

  Thai Noodles With Curry Ground Beef Sauce
1 bunch romaine lettuce
1 lb fresh rice noodles (these are not dried noodles, they're sold pre-cut in about 1/4-inch strips, or in sheets you can cut)
4 tablespoons black soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 lb ground beef
3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 onion, chopped
3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup water

Sauce ingredients
2 tablespoons black soy sauce*
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons light soy sauce*
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar

sambal oelek (recipe follows)


1 Clean and cut lettuce into bite size pieces. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

2 Separate noodles into strands and stir-fry in heated non-stick wok or skillet. Add 4 tbsp black soy sauce, and stir until noodles become brown and a little crispy on the bottom. Remove to a bowl, and set aside.

3 Heat oil in the same wok, and sauté garlic until aromatic. Add ground beef and stir to break up meat and brown it. Add curry powder and ground pepper. Mix well until beef is done. Add chopped onion and tomatoes. Stir well and saute about 5 minutes with the beef mixture.

4 Add chicken broth to beef mixture and add seasoning ingredients. Taste and adjust for proper balance of sweet/sour/salty.

5 Mix cornstarch and water, and make a slurry. In a slow stream, add slurry to broth in pan, stirring constantly to keep it from getting lumpy. Boil until the sauce is thickened. Lower heat and simmer a few minutes.

6 To serve, place lettuce on plates. Put noodles on the lettuce. Put a scoop of beef sauce on top of the noodles, sprinkle with ground pepper and a little bit of Sambal oelek.
 *Most soy sauces found in super markets are dark. If you cannot find light, you can substitute dark. 

Adapted from: Thai Noodles With Curried Ground Beef Sauce

Sambal Oelek
1 c. Chili garlic sauce 1 head garlic, chopped
2 stalks lemon grass (just the white part), sliced
3 Tb rice vinegar
8 oz sugar
salt to taste
zest of 1 lime
5.5 oz ginger, peeled and chopped


1 Blend the chili garlic sauce, garlic, ginger and lemon grass in a food processor or blender

2 While processing gradually add the vinegar.

3 Place the pureed mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil.

4 Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

5 Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.

6 Add the salt and lime zest.

7 Remove from the heat, cool and bottle in sterilised jars. 

Adapted from: Sambal Oelek

 I also realized in the middle of making this that I had no curry powder, so I made my own Thai Curry Powder.  I was also out of coriander, so I used fennel instead.

 This is going in the "permanent" recipe box. If I can figure out where that is.

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